I just recently finished reading James Rollins’ book The Blood Gospel. I love James Rollins. My problem with James Rollins is that I read one book and I crave more James Rollins. That’s how I love him. I can’t get enough of him. But I’m out of him right now. And since I’m avoiding work and I’m not near a really good library…not going to happen for a while. Ugh, there’s a void in my life now. (Yes, I’m being dramatic.) Yes, there are religious things in this book but if you read it, which I recommend everyone does because it’s James freaking Rollins, take some of the religious things with a grain of salt. But it didn’t disappoint. I want to read the rest in the series. I know I read over 600 closer to 700 pages of this series with just this one book but I want more.
Right now, I am about to start reading The Great Gatsby. It’s my first Fitzgerald. I know it might be a little bit generic for my first Fitzgerald. I probably should be reading The Beautiful and the Damned, which I have on my Nook but haven’t gotten to. (And FYI I’d rather have a real copy of it. Anyone wanting to donate any books. I’m down.) And people have told me to start with The Beautiful and the Damned. I’m just being a rebel. Historically, I have had people upset with me because I haven’t read Fitzgerald. Not in high school lit or college lit classes. No Fitzgerald. Yay North Dakota education system. So because I am fascinated by authors and where books came from and why, I did my research.
Things that I did know: he was in deep love with his wife. (The Great Gatsby is dedicated ‘Once Again To Zelda’. I mean this was his third novel.) From what my friends have said, I want to be Zelda Fitzgerald. Like he was romantic and she has books where she’s the basis of a character. I want to positively immortalized in a book. He did something to do with the first world war.
Things that I found out with reading: He was born in Minnesota, though did not stay there. I like Mid-western authors. Leif Enger being one of them. If you haven’t read him, try him. Not everyone’s cup of tea but interesting. He was seen as handsome, thought definitely not my type. He went to Princeton. Fitzgerald was commissioned a second lieutenant in the infantry and assigned to Camp Sheridan outside of Montgomery, Alabama. It was there that he met and fell in love with a beautiful 18-year-old girl named Zelda Sayre, the daughter of an Alabama Supreme Court judge. The war ended before Fitzgerald was deployed. The Beautiful and the Damned was his second novel, I thought it was his first but lie.
After Gatsby, Fitzgerald became more of an alcoholic and his wife Zelda had some issues with mental breakdowns. And she was admitted to a mental health clinic in Switzerland for a while. Fitzgerald died at the age of 44, believing he was a failure. On a personal level, get that. There’s a lot more of Fitzgerald. Click to find out more and to find where I got a lot of my information.
I went on GoodReads today to mark that I was reading Gatsby. I scrolled down to see who’s read it and what they thought of it. I’m a failure. Most everyone I know has read this. There are 24 reviews. Out of 60 people I’m friends with on GoodReads, maybe not so bad but still. I’m kind of a failure. With a degree in English Lit, I should have read this book before. Or at least Fitzgerald. They’re mostly good reviews and there are some of my friends that have marked it to read so I’m not completely alone. And I do think I have to put in a disclaimer that I have seen the DiCaprio version of the book. (DAMN DiCaprio hasn’t gotten the recognition anywhere. My kids in Hungary even know it. When I asked what you associate with the Emmys they say, “Not Leonardo DiCaprio”.) So it’s not like I don’t know the general story. (And if we’re using movies as the pure basis for judgment of the novel version, we’re in trouble.) I was going to start reading this last night but I was really tired after running after my brother’s kids for a while. (“It’s not kicking, it’s hitting with feet.” Where do they come up with that?) So I got like a page in and was like, yeah…no. I’m sleeping. From what I can see, Fitzgerald isn’t mindless. I have to put more thought into it than a modern novel. It was also written in another era so I can’t go into it thinking that the vernacular is going to be natural to me. I could, and have, go off about vernacular and how language has seem to go down hill in recent times but I won’t now. It’s refreshing though to read a book where it makes me concentrate, which Gatsby will do. This isn’t a long book. My copy, published by Scribner Paperback Fiction and was bought for $3.80 at a used book store last year, has 222 pages starts on page 5 and ends on page 189. So that’s 184 pages of story.
There is a great emphasis in this book about the American Dream. Which, for me, is different for me now after being overseas for a year. But I’ll talk about that in the review.
After reading a few reviews on GoodReads, which we all know is the literary Bible, (sarcasm. I point that out because not many people get my sarcasm.) people say that this is the best American novel ever. I’m skeptical. Anyone that says that anything is the best ever, I’m not sure I believe it. But at the same time, my expectations are high. Expectations are high because the people that have told me good things about Fitzgerald are people I respect deeply. If this book disappoints, it’s going to be an epic disappointal. And people will hear about it. This isn’t a long book so the review shouldn’t be to far away.